Camping is all about location, and Massachusetts is full of places to pitch a tent that are absolutely breathtaking. However, there’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of waves, and waking up with the tang of salt air in your nose. Here are some of the best campsites across the state that let you camp right on the beach.
We’ve focused on places that let you camp as close to the water as possible – there are plenty of campsites within walking distance of the sea, but these places give you a front row seat to the sand and surf.
1. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, Westport
This reservation may be the most popular oceanside camping spot in the state. It offers over 100 campsites with running water, picnic areas, showers, toilet facilities and fire pits. There’s even a playground for the little ones. Camping here means that you’re only moments from the surf at Horseneck Beach. Even at the campsites that are furthest from the beach, the sound of the waves can still be heard. This spot also gets dark enough to see the Milky Way, which is a real treat if you’re visiting from an urban area. To make reservations, call (508)-636-8817.
2. Scusset Beach State Reservation, Sandwich
A 1.5-mile stretch along the Cape Cod Canal is the perfect beach camping site for families. There are 98 RV sites with water and hook-ups, as well as 5 tent-only sites with a picnic area and grilling stations. Anglers can cast off from the beach’s 3,000-foot stone jetty, and there are plenty of spots to jog or walk along the car-free service road that winds beside the canal. The beach is sandy and usually doesn’t have strong waves, so kids can splash around. Nearby, the 14,000-acre Myles Standish State Forest offers even more swimming, hiking and biking opportunities.
3. Race Point Beach, Provincetown
This spot is about as far-flung as it gets, which makes it the perfect place to really escape to the serenity of nature. You’ll get miles of gorgeous shoreline to explore, plus the opportunity to catch some local seals catching rays out on the sand. The price to set up camp here is also pretty great: only $75 per week (you can stay a maximum of 21 days). That’s a spectacular deal when you consider that Race Point Beach is one of the most beautiful coastal spots in the state. Note: this spot accepts self-contained, off-road vehicles only.
4. Sandy Neck, West Barnstable
This spot is one of only two places on Cape Cod where beach camping is allowed. The beach is almost seven miles long and includes over 4,000 acres of scenic dunes, maritime forest and shimmering marsh. You can spend the day swimming, beach combing or hiking the miles of trails around the beach. When nighttime rolls around, you can start a beautiful, roaring fire right on the sand. Camping is $6 per night for Barnstable residents and $12 for non-residents.
5. Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury
This campsite offers 3.8 miles of beautiful coast and over 480 campsites to choose from. There’s really no bad place to pitch your tent, though the campsites just behind the dunes are the most popular and scenic. If you want to head into the town of Salisbury to resupply or check out the local nightlife, there are plenty of places to eat and explore. The reservation is open to campers between April 14 and November 26.